The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years #5
DC Comics (May, 1998)
“You Can’t Go Home Again”
WRITER: Hilary Bader
PENCILER: Bo Hamilton
INKER: Terry Beatty
COLORIST: Rick Taylor
LETTERER: Tim Harkins
EDITORS: Darren Vincenzo & Scott Peterson
Dick is still on his travels. Now he seeks Himalayan monks who have supposedly mastered flight. However, Ra’s Al Ghul has sent men to steal a statue from the monks formed from the Lazarus Pit that can help prolong his life. Dick fails to stop the men and is rescued by one of the monks, who don’t so much fly as glide thanks to wings in their outfit. In exchange for one of their suits Dick must return to Gotham City and recover the statue from Ra’s. Once successful Dick finally decides to return to the fold…as Nightwing!
What they got right: It took the show long enough to bring in Nightwing, and they had to change networks and art styles to do it. We never start off a series with Dick as Nightwing, although the live-action Titans series may be the first. He has shown up in other animated works with that identity, but when this came out, Dick had stopped being Robin for about a decade. And I like the origin of Nightwing’s flying costume, which sets him apart from the others, plus is a fusion of all he’s learned in this miniseries and his own trapeze artist roots. This show is my favorite version of Nightwing and seeing Dick grow into the role in this miniseries has been the highlight.
What they got wrong: I kind of wish Nightwing had kept the hood from the monk’s suit. I know it’s not in line with Dick’s usual look but it looked so cool after he added the symbol from the Los Invisibales. I also would like to think that, had they kept to the previous style instead of trying to mirror Superman: The Animated Series after the move to Kids WB he would have kept the costume rather than using the Day Of The Dead costume as a base and adding the wings, because it looks closer to what would be in Batman: The Animated Series than The New Batman Adventures.
Recommendation: If you are a fan of the DCAU Bat-Shows this is a must-own issue, as it transitions from the Fox Kids to Kids WB style, for better or worse depending on what you thought of the changes. Even if you ignored the other tie-in comics, you really need to get this one. Meanwhile the comic will continue as Batman: Gotham Adventures the next time we return to Gotham City.